Clayton Kershaw Rumors: Dodgers 'Optimistic' About New Contract Agreement

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws during the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly "optimistic" about reaching a contract agreement with starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, a source said both sides "really want" a deal to happen.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports added that Kershaw and the Dodgers are nearing a deal that will keep the superstar pitcher in L.A. The sources called the deal "very close."

Kershaw can either opt in to the final two years of his contract or opt out and become a free agent. Rosenthal noted that while talks between the Dodgers and Kershaw can continue even if he opts out by Friday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, other teams would then have an opportunity to sign him.

If Kershaw opts in, he will make $32 million next season and $33 million in 2020, per Spotrac.

The 30-year-old southpaw has dealt with multiple injuries over the past three seasons, but he has remained productive when healthy.

Over 26 starts in 2018, Kershaw went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, while striking out 155 in 161.1 innings pitched.

While Kershaw's numbers were excellent compared to most of his peers, his ERA and WHIP hadn't been that high since 2010.

Although Kershaw helped lead the Dodgers to the World Series for the second consecutive season in 2018, he struggled once again on the playoff stage.

In six playoff appearances (five starts), Kershaw went 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA. He lost both of his World Series starts and posted a 7.36 ERA in those outings.

Kershaw missed time with a biceps injury in 2018 after landing on the shelf with back ailments the previous two seasons.

Recent injuries notwithstanding, Kershaw is perhaps the greatest pitcher of his era and boasts a Hall of Fame resume.

He is a seven-time All-Star, five-time winner of the National League ERA title, a three-time NL Cy Young award winner and a one-time NL MVP.

Even though he was limited to 27 starts in 2017, Kershaw finished second in the NL MVP voting, marking the seventh straight year he finished fifth or better.

If the Dodgers fail to retain Kershaw, look for 24-year-old Walker Buehler to become the heir apparent as L.A.'s ace.